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New York Philharmonic to Play Nork Anthem

4:44 PM, Feb 25, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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I listened to this bit on NPR yesterday about the New York Philharmonic's trip to North Korea. It featured Zarin Mehta, the orchestra's president and executive director. He says:

I think it's going to mean a lot...our board has supported it, our musicians have supported it, I would say that 95 percent of opinion in New York and in American and around the world has supported it. Yes, there are a few people who think that we shouldn't have dialogue. I don't happen to believe that one shouldn't have dialogue in any circumstances.

He's like the Michael Barone of classical music. Count us among that 5 percent that thinks there isn't much to be gained from the country's most famous orchestra serenading Kim Jong-Il. And one wonders what, precisely, is the percentage of North Koreans who support the visit according to Mr. Mehta's polling? Between scrounging for tree bark to eat and trying to avoid being sent to slave labor camps, one might imagine that support is something less than 95 percent. That is unless an agent of the North Korean government is standing around when you ask, in which case I suspect support for the visit would be a whopping 100 percent.